Part 3:

He yelped loudly and indignantly as he scrambled behind the DHD and crouched down. This was the absolute last thing he needed right about now. Being shot at by unseen assailants who seemed intent on making sure he didn't leave the planet was just the cherry on the freaking sundae. He should have expected this, the villagers would obviously have noticed he'd escaped, and would undoubtedly have sent someone to guard the gate. Oh, hell, this was bad. He peeked up over the DHD to locate the hidden marksmen, and was promptly answered with another arrow lodging itself in the mud a foot to his right. Ducking back down, he attempted to draw himself even further behind the inadequate cover of the DHD.

At this point, he began to hyperventilate. He was trapped by a group of archers whose sole goal was to capture him and taken back to the village where God-knows-what would happen to him.

"Alright, McKay, focus," he muttered to himself in vain. There was no way he was going to focus now, it was just impossible. His thoughts began to race, going through all the possible outcomes of the situation. That was the problem with having such a brilliant mind in the field, it didn't much lend itself to thinking under duress when your imagination kept wandering back to all the ways you could die.

Another arrow whistled past, sticking itself into the earth at a sharp angle. It landed so near that he was actually splattered by mud when it impacted with the ground. He realized that these shots were far too precise to be inaccurate; these archers were aiming to miss. He was exposed enough that he would already have been shot if they wanted. No, these men were just trying to keep him where he was, they didn't want him dead, at least not yet, they wanted to recapture him and take him back to the village for whatever purpose they needed him for. He and they would remain in stalemate until one of them made a decisive move.

"Well, no time like the present," he muttered, unholstering his 9 mm at an awkward angle to hide it from view. After a second or two of scrutiny, he stuck his arm out and shot five rounds blindly into the area he believed the arrows had been coming from. Without waiting to see what happened, he scampered around the DHD, trying desperately to dial Atlantis' gate address. He managed to push two symbols before two arrows whizzed past his right side, a little too close for comfort. Apparently his assailants were getting impatient. He spent no further time on his current endeavor, and dove back to relative safety under the DHD.

Crap. That plan was a massive waste of time and ammunition. He had no idea how many bullets he had left, but it likely wasn't enough to pull that stunt many more times. And apparently, in sticking with the extended chess metaphor, they were about to put him into check. In the distance, he could hear another set of voices coming from the opposite side of his current assailants, maybe fifty yards away. They were going to attack from either side, so there was no way he could escape or hide. That would essentially be the endgame for him and the other three. Atlantis wouldn't send anyone after them until they missed their next check-in, which wasn't for another ten hours or so, and who knows what could happen between now and then. No, if he was going to act, he'd better pull some sort of amazing scheme out of his ass right now.

Nothing like a little pressure to stimulate the mind.

Alright, start by listing all of his advantage. Well, for starters, they had bows and arrows, whereas he had a gun. Granted, arrows could be just as deadly as a bullet, and firing guns usually required having a good aim…so there went that advantage.

Actually, now that he thought about it, that was the only advantage.

He was so screwed.

Well, at least the worst that could happen was to be recaptured and brought back to the village. They didn't want him dead, they wanted…well, he didn't quite know what they wanted him for, but whatever it was, they didn't want to kill him. He would have been dead a while back if that had been the case. If he was captured, he was sure the four of them could stall their captors until Atlantis sent back-up…ten hours from now…

He was beyond screwed.

He began to shrug off his pack while still trying to remain completely behind the cover of the DHD, which ended up becoming quite a feat. He finally managed to get it off several seconds later. With one hand, he began rummaging around, hoping desperately to find anything remotely useful…

Powerbar wrapper, extra pair of socks, pocket knife, powerbar wrapper, MRE, life signs detector, flashlight with the broken bulb he had been meaning to replace for over a month now, mirror, sunscreen, medkit, empty water bottle…how was it he could fit all the useless junk in the entire city in his backpack, but could never manage to stick in a spare radio or an extra clip of ammo? Maybe he should actually listen to Sheppard sometime in the future and come prepared to a mission. Then again, maybe Sheppard should mind his own business and stop being unprepared so he didn't have to go on another ill-fated rescue mission like this ever again.

He pulled out the life signs detector. If he was going to escape, he might as well know how many people he was up against. The device began beeping, showing three dots to his left. The other group approaching from his right side was still far enough away that they hadn't shown up on the screen yet, but judging from how their sounds were much closer now, they wouldn't be off the screen for long.

Christ, he was screwed.

Once again, that little nagging part of him began to speak up, telling him that if he was screwed, stop complaining and do something! Only problem was, it was a bit difficult to hear the voice over his hyperventilating. Besides, that voice was beginning to sound increasingly like one Major John Sheppard, and he certainly didn't want to listen to it if that was the case. It would probably get him killed. Either that or it would pull off some amazingly brilliant yet simultaneously stupid stunt that ended up saving the day.

A distraction. That was it, that was all he needed, a distraction long enough to get to the DHD and enter the rest of the symbols. Four more buttons, couldn't take more than a few seconds, right? He figured he'd just take his chances with the same shoot-and-run strategy, because things were getting a little too close for comfort and he didn't really have the time to come up with something better. Tensing himself for the mad dash to the other side of the DHD, he pointed the gun in the same general area and pulled the trigger.

Click.

His facial expression morphed into a strange sort of panicked scowl. He's forgotten to check the magazine. Again. Dirty Harry made running out of bullets look so much cooler; whenever it happened to him, it was just inconvenient and rather pathetic-looking.

Wasn't this situation just getting better and better? He wondered vaguely if things could get any worse: trapped, without ammo, taking fire…

Hold on. Fire…

The Athosian lighter! He had one of those Athosian lighter-thingies Teyla had given him! He plunged his arm deep into the gritty depths of his pack and frantically groped around, finally coming up with the short, cylindrical object a few seconds later. Finally something useful. More importantly, finally an idea.

He opened the field medkit and took out a plastic bottle of rubbing alcohol, some gauze, a roll of adhesive medical tape, and a four-inch glass bottle of some sort of medication, he didn't look at what it was. He knew Carson would probably give him hell if he ever found out that medical supplies were being used for such a purpose, but it wasn't like McKay had much of a choice.

He dumped out the contents of the glass bottle on the ground and refilled it halfway with the alcohol. Working rapidly, he used the remainder of the alcohol to drench the gauze. He stuffed the opening first with wad of medical tape as a seal, then with the soaked gauze. A makeshift Molotov cocktail. Wouldn't cause lasting damage or burn for very long, but it would work long enough to finish dialing Atlantis.

With one final peek out from his hiding spot, he used the lighter to ignite the gauze, which went up instantaneously. Before he himself could get burned, he whipped it at his attackers, hoping that it hit the ground and broke somewhere near them. Without waiting to see where it landed, he leaped out from his hiding spot and pounded the buttons of the DHD as if his life depended on it. Because, y'know, it kind of did. He vaguely heard a yell from the archers, but he couldn't tell what they were saying. As long as they weren't shooting, he didn't give a damn what they were doing. Apparently his little incendiary device served its purpose, because they didn't start to fire arrows at him again until he was already back behind the DHD and the wormhole splashed to life. It was pretty much the most amazing ka-woosh he'd ever seen.

McKay punched in his IDC and waited five seconds for Atlantis to take down the shield. Then he waited another five seconds as he made a couple false starts to the gate. Finally, he told himself he was acting stupid, gritted his teeth, and ran like hell to the wormhole.

In many ways, that mission a couple of months ago where he had gotten hit by a Wraith blast coming through the open wormhole had been a blessing in disguise. Well, not in many ways. But since then, it had become an instinct to step to the side as soon as he arrived in Atlantis. Finally, that strategy paid off. Mere seconds after the gateroom swam into view, an arrow flew in behind him, missing him by scant inches. Inches. It clattered to the floor. He stared at for an instant, his mind having trouble grasping the fact that the arrow would probably have gone straight through his shoulder.

He shook his head and yelled to the control room, "Shut it down!"

Even as the technician put up the shield and the wormhole disengaged, Dr. Weir said over the intercom, "Rodney, where are Major Sheppard, Lieutenant Ford and Teyla?" Although she kept her voice even, you could barely hear the apprehensive strain in it.

"It's a long story with very little time to explain it all," he snapped, striding across the gateroom, leaving a trail of muddy footprints and drips of water as he walked. "We need a jumper, and preferably a better pilot than me to fly it. And at least four other well-armed people. And tell someone to go to my lab and get the laptop sitting on the top of the shelves by the door."

He suddenly realized that the team had been expecting the cavalry forty-five minutes ago. "And tell everyone to be ready as fast as is humanly possible! 'Lizbeth, meet me up in the jumper bay, I'll give you the Cliffs Notes version of the mission there."

As he moodily stormed his way up to the jumper bay, he wondered briefly how the hell he'd managed to get through that ordeal. And he also wondered when the hell he'd become more concerned about saving his team than about saving his own ass. After what he'd just gone through, they'd better appreciate this new selfless streak. Although, he supposed that after being in enemy hands for forty-five minutes, they probably would appreciate pretty much anything.

This had better work.


A/N: Okay, people, you get your wish. One more part!